Michael Leiter, NBC News National Security Analyst, was explaining what he thought would be the most important information in the recent MH17 incident. He stated what was more important than how was who.
"The new U.S. sanctions that the president put in place a few days ago are really in response to a view that Russia has not backed down at all, it has sent troops and it has sent specially weaponry, like these surface to air missiles to the separatists,” said Leiter. “So, from that perspective, the U.S. knows he’s been doubling down, the question now for the intelligence community will be: Is there any crack in that? Does he look at this situation and say this is so bad, that there might be an off-ramp to deescalate. I don’t think that’s the most likely outcome given Putin’s background, but I think there’s at least some chance, and that’s the leadership-intention piece that the US intelligence community will try to discern over the coming days.”
At first reading, I couldn't figure out which meaning of crack he intended; I didn't understand to what he was referring. I take it he's intending this meaning of crack:
a narrow opening or fissure
If so, I'm still having difficulty understanding to what crack refers. Is it the alliance between Russia and the separatists? Or is it something else?